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Serupa?

20 Jun

WIRA BOLLYWOOD
SERUPA?

By Haryani Ismail

BELIAU baru sahaja bersiap sedia untuk terima maklum balas ramai tentang filem pertamanya yang bakal lahir, Love Story 2050.

Bagaimanapun, sesuatu perkara membimbangkannya dan mengusik benaknya.

Harman, 27 tahun, disamakan dan dibanding-bandingkan dengan bintang tampan, Hrithik Roshan, kerana wajah mereka yang hampir serupa.

Apabila ditanya tentang perkara itu, Harman, berkata perbandingan itu memang tidak adil dan pada masa yang sama mencabar dirinya.

‘Saya baru sahaja bertatih dalam industri ini dan kini dibandingkan dengan seseorang yang telah mapan, bahkan menjadi bintang gemerlapan di Bollywood.

‘Rasanya ini agak melampau. Jangkaan orang terhadap saya, seorang pelakon mentah, terlalu tinggi,’ ujarnya ketika ditemui wartawan di acara Anugerah Akademi India Antarabangsa (IIFA) di Bangkok, baru-baru ini.

Anak pengarah Harry Baweja dan penerbit Pammy Baweja, itu akan menjayakan filem arahan bapanya yang dijangka ditayangkan pada 4 Julai ini.

Menurutnya, apa yang banyak membantu ialah pelakon dan kru belakang tabir filem ini merupakan mereka yang amat dikenalinya.

‘Keprihatinan kru penerbitan filem ini terhadap saya tidak dilakukan sambil lewa.

‘Lagipun, saya telah mengenali heroine saya, Priyanka Chopra, tiga tahun lalu sebelum kami menjalani penggambaran bagi filem ini,’ jelasnya.

Sungguhpun begitu, Harman enggan dirinya dilabel sebagai bintang besar pada awal kerjayanya.

‘Saya tidak mahu label sedemikian sebelum penonton menyaksikan filem saya dan memberikan penilaian mereka,’ katanya.

Di sebalik persamaan yang cuba diwujudkan antara Harman dan Hrithik, ternyata heroine Love Story 2050, Priyanka, tidak setuju dengan perbandingan yang dibuat.

‘Saya telah bekerjasama dengan kedua-duanya dan mereka memiliki stail yang berbeza. Penonton hanya akan menyedarinya selepas mereka menonton filem ini,’ tambahnya.

Belum pun penonton menilai keserasian Harman dan Priyanka, satu lagi tawaran filem menanti kedua-duanya. Mereka akan digandingkan sekali lagi di dalam filem Ashutosh Gowarikar, What’s Your Rashee?, November ini.

‘Saya rasa bertuah pembikin filem dengan kaliber Ashutosh itu memilih saya untuk filem ini. Ia adalah petanda beliau meyakini bakat saya,’ ujar Harman.

Beralih tentang Love Story 2050, Priyanka menyifatkannya sebagai titik tolak filem cereka sains India yang cemerlang.

Namun beliau enggan ia dibandingkan dengan satu lagi filem cereka sains, Krrish, yang turut dibintanginya. Menurutnya, kedua-dua filem itu memiliki genre berbeza.

Cyberita

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WEEKEND WATCH: Catch UEFA Euro 2008 Action

5 Jun

Hrithik Roshan stars in Krrish tomorrow at 2pm over TV3.
Hrithik Roshan stars in Krrish tomorrow at 2pm over TV3.

THESE are exciting times for football fans! UEFA Euro 2008 kicks off tomorrow with Switzerland versus the Czech Republic. The match will be aired “live” on ntv7 and TV3 at 11.30pm.

Will Smith and Eva Mendes appear in Hitch tomorrow at 9pm over RTM2.
Will Smith and Eva Mendes appear in Hitch tomorrow at 9pm over RTM2.

On Monday morning (2.15am) catch Germany vs Poland also “live” over ntv7 and TV3.

Meanwhile, dating reality show Super Match premieres over 8TV, tomorrow at 6.30pm.

Super Match, is a mega dating game show combined with the characteristics of travelogue and cuisine. The show is hosted by the famous Taiwanese emcee of variety shows Matilda Tao and Hong Kong Sundream Music pop singer Anthony Tai, who as matchmakers, hook up lonely souls online.

For movie buffs, ntv7 goes behind-the-scenes with The Making Of… Kungfu Panda at 2pm on Sunday. Directed by Mark Osborne and John Stevenson, this animation comedy is about Po the Panda being the laziest animals in all of the Valley of Peace, but unwittingly becomes the chosen one when enemies threaten their way of life. The movie features the voices of Jack Black, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie and Lucy Liu.

Also on ntv7 is Malaysia My Second Home which looks at expatriates and their contribution toward Malaysia’s development. The show is aired on Sunday at 2.30pm.

TOMORROW

Panggung Sabtu (Hindi Movie) (TV3, 2.00pm) – Krrish

Singapore-based Dr Siddhant recruits a superhumanly powerful Indian man named Rohit, who is given special powers by blue-skinned alien Jadoo to build a computer that can forecast the future. Starring Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra and Rekha.

Hitch (English Movie) (RTM2, 9pm)

Alex is “The Date Doctor” while Sara is a gossip columnist for a New York City tabloid. Despite their natures, Alex and Sara begin a relationship. Complications ensue when Sara’s latest scoop happens to be one of Alex’s clients. Starring Will Smith, Eva Mendes and Kevin James.

Bollygood Time On 2 – Deewanapan (Hindi Movie) (RTM2, 12.30pm)

Suraj lives in a remote hill station in India with his family. One day he meets Kiran, who is on holiday with a group of girls. He offers to show her around and they begin to fall in love with one other. Starring Arjun Rampal, Diya Mirza, Vinod Khanna and Om Puri.

Train Man (Japanese movie) (8TV, 8.30pm)

Train Man (Densha Otoko) is a romantic comedy about a socially-challenged man who saves a lovely woman from a drunken molester on the commuter. The story unfolds when the Train Man receives a thank-you gift from his damsel not long after the heroic event. Starring Takayuki Yamada and Miki Nakatani.

SUNDAY

Slappy and The Stinkers (English movie) (RTM2, 3pm)

At Dartmoor Academy, snooty principal Brinway has second-graders studying opera appreciation, but five feisty children, nicknamed the “Stinkers”, skip class to create chaos on the school grounds. Although they get a warning from Brinway, they soon rebel with more misadventures. Starring Bronson Pinchot, Jennifer Coolidge and Jospeh Ashton.

Winner & Sinner (Chinese movie) (RTM2, 10pm)

Five friends are released from prison and do their best to stay out trouble. Trying to mind their own business and run their Five Star Cleaning Service, they are unfortunately caught up in a war between rival Triad gangs. Starring Sammo Hung, John Sham, Richard Ng and Charlie Chin.

Moondram Pirai (Tamil movie) (RTM2, 12.30pm)

A young woman regresses to being a child after suffering a head injury in a car crash. Lost, she ends up trapped at a brothel before being rescued by a lonely school teacher who falls in love with her. Starring Kamal Haasan and Sridevi.

 

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Arrow Of Light Runs With A Bright Chance

5 Aug


Arrow Of Light runs with a bright chance

Hyderabad: Arrow Of Light runs with a bright chance in the Cat.I, the Air Command Cup (1,600m), the main event of the races to be held here on Sunday (Aug.5).

False rails (width about 4 metres from 1,400m to 450 metres) will be in position.

•MALTESE PRINCE PLATE (Div.II) (1,100m), Cat.II, Md.3-y-o only (Terms) 12-15.p.m: 1. Attorney General (3) N.Rawal 56, 2. Feudal Lords (7) Christopher 56, 3. Golden Flame (4) B.V.Krishnan 56, 4. Royal Dignitary (9) I.Chisty 56, 5. Top Gear (1) Rajesh Babu 56, 6. American Pie (11) Sequeira 54.5, 7. Cygnet (2) Sk.Sharookh 54.5, 8. Hearts Cry (6) Ravinder S 54.5, 9. Indian Diva (10) B.Shanker 54.5, 10. Smart Choice (8) Suresh 54.5 and

11. Valerie (5) A.Joshi 54.5.

1. Royal Dignitary, 2.Smart Choice, 3.Feudal Lords

•OWN OPINION PLATE (Div.I), (1,200m) Cat.II, 3-y-o & over, rated upto 70: 12-45: 1. Vijayraaj (8) V.Golgan 61.5, 2. All Round (9) A.Asbar 60.5, 3. Sir Creek (6) Pramod 58.5, 4. Proud Accolade (5) G.B.Khade 56.5, 5. John Galt (4) J.Antony 56, 6. Big Budget (3) Sequeira 55, 7. Lolita (7) Suresh 52.5, 8. Jetage (1) Sreekant 52 and 9. Sugar Lady (2) K.Anil 51.5.

1.Vijayraaj,2.Sir Creek, 3.Proud Accolade

•MALTESE PRINCE PLATE (Div.I), (1,100m) Cat.II, Md.3-y-o only (Terms) 1-15: 1. Amontillado (4) Ramana 56, 2. Classic Ruby (2) Suraj Narredu 56, 3. Gold String (11) R.Umesh 56, 4. Inverary (1) B.V.Krishnan 56, 5. Krrish (6) Ravinder S 56, 6. Rohans Pet (5) Ali Khan 56, 7. Chamcha In Chief (10) P.Kamlesh 54.5, 8. Cherokee Fighter (7) N.Rawal 54.5, 9. Hunting Girl (9) Rajesh Babu 54.5, 10. Lavish Star (3) I.Chisty 54.5 and 11. Zarshuk (8) Sequeira 54.5.

1. Classic Ruby,2. Chamcha In Chief, 3. Lavish Star

•SAROJINI NAIDU PLATE (Div.I), (1,600m), Cat.III, 4-y-o & over,rated upto 30, 1-45: 1. Celestial Queen (9) Christopher 60, 2. Barcelona (7) D.Singh 58.5, 3. Air Bender (Ex:Star Shell) (1) R.B.Shinde 57.5, 4. Bang Baba Bang (6) Rajesh Babu 56, 5. Continuity (8) Sk.Sharookh 55.5, 6. Ocean City (4) Ramana 53.5, 7. Recast (2) K.Anil 53.5, 8. Grand Act (Ex:Raise The Moon) (5) Chary 49.5 and 9. Forest Wind (3) Abhinay 48.5.

1.Air Bender,2.Barcelona, 3.Recast

•GRAND ENTRY PLATE (Div.I), (1,200m), Cat-III, 3-y-o & over, rated upto 50, 2-15: 1. Bernardo (4) Mukesh 62, 2. Navija (8) Suraj Narredu 61, 3. Danzsingh (9) V.Golgan 60.5, 4. Walmart (2) A.Asbar 60, 5. Rexcellent (1) Rajesh Babu 59.5, 6. True Fashion (6) B.Shanker 59, 7. Orange County (7) I.Chisty 58.5, 8. Don Vinton (3) Ramana 52 and 9. Musical Spy (5) Sk.Farookh 47.

1.Navija, 2.Orange County, 3. Bernardo

•GRAND ENTRY PLATE (Div.II), (1,200m), Cat.III, 3-y-o & over, rated upto 50, 2-50: 1. Super Brand (1) I.Chisty 61.5, 2. Green Lasser (3) P.Kamlesh 61, 3. Shen Long (4) Ravinder S 60, 4. Jet Express (7) N.Rawal 59.5, 5. Shes Got The Look (9) Pramod 59.5, 6. Fair Touch (2) Laxman 57.5, 7. Auric Master (Ex:Manishas Master) (6) Sk.Sharookh 55.5, 8. Bentota (5) Suresh 55 and 9. Scorpion Missile (8) G.B.Khade 52.

1.Green Lasser, 2.Super Brand, 3.Shes Got The Look

•ALMANAC TROPHY (1,200m), Cl.I, rated 60 to 91 & over, 3.30: (Refer Pune race card):

•AIR COMMAND CUP (1,600m), Cat.I, 4-y-o & over, 4-15: 1. Oxfordshire (1) P. Kamlesh 61, 2. Turf Raider (7) N.Rawal 60.5, 3. Maximise (8) V.Golgan 57, 4. Arrow Of Light (2) Suraj Narredu 54, 5. Rudolph Valentino (3) G.B.Khade 51.5, 6. Queen Of Kazran (6) Sk.Sharookh 49, 7. Greyhound (4) Abhinay 48.5, 8. Royal View (5) A.Asbar 48.5 and 9. Premier Thrill (9) Chary 47.

1.Arrow Of Light, 2.Oxfordshire, 3.Premier Thrill

•OWN OPINION PLATE (Div.II), (1,200m), Cat-II, 3-y-o & over, rated upto 70, 4-45: 1. Key To Relax (6) Mukesh 61.5, 2. Ryder (3) Sreekant 59.5, 3. Gold Rush (4) Sk.Farookh 56.5, 4. Dream Counsel (8) Sequeira 56, 5. Easy Mover (5) R.B.Shinde 54.5, 6. Cefiro (2) Laxmikanth 53, 7. Flashy Trend (7) N.Rawal 52.5 and 8. Highland Queen (1) P.Kamlesh 52.

1.Cefiro, 2. Key To Relax, 3.Highland Queen

•SAROJINI NAIDU PLATE (Div.II), (1,600m), Cat.III, 4-y-o & over, rated upto 30, 5-20: 1. Track Rule (5) A.Imran Khan 60, 2. Altai (4) K.Anil 59, 3. The Bee (8) Sk.Farookh 58, 4. Parineeta (6) Laxmikanth 56.5, 5. First Warrior (7) Rajesh Babu 55.5, 6. Riddle (1) Ravinder S 54, 7. Time Square (3) Christopher 52.5 and 8. Target Time (2) Sk.Sharookh 49.

1.The Bee, 2.Time Square, 3.Track Rule

Day’s best: Vijayraaj

Double: Classic Ruby-Cefiro

Jkt: 5,6, 8, 9 & 10. Tr (i): 1,2 & 3; (ii): 4,5 & 6; (iii): 8,9 & 10. Tanala: On races where there are five or more starters.

Hindu On Net

Any Takers For Serious Cinema?

8 Jul


Any takers for serious cinema?

ZIYA US SALAM

Parallel cinema lost out on the box office stakes long ago. Now it is losing space to the commercial variety on the small screen too.


Struggle for space: Stills from Shyam Benegal’s “Ankur.

Popular director Anil Sharma, whose high-profile “Apne” was released recently to a fine reception, is a touch disappointed these days. His first, and arguably the finest film, “Shradhanjali” has found no takers. Much like Prak
ash Jha’s “Damul” and “Hip Hip Hurray”.

Sharma laments, “TV satellite channels do not show ‘Shradhanjali’. They show what sells. They are ready to screen ‘Gadar’ and ‘The Hero’ 100 times but not my first film, which is also my best.” “Apne” was in great demand from channels even before the release.

No takers

Jha, who has also made a neat switchover to popular cinema with films like “Gangajal” and “Apaharan”, says, “There are no takers for serious cinema on television. The market is determining the choice. Nobody is interested in ‘Hip Hip…’ anymore. They want ‘Gangajal’. I am designing films that sell in the market. If I don’t texture a film according to the market, it won’t sell.”

He should know. While his films like “Damul” and “Hip Hip…” have struggled to find takers among the private channels, “Gangajal” and “Apaharan” have raked in more on the small screen than all his previous films combined.

It is not a surprise. Nor are Jha and Sharma without company. Govind Nihalani’s timeless classic “Ardh Satya” lies unsold as does his sci-fi venture “Deham”. Nihalani, whose “Takshak” and “Dev” (starring popular actors like Ajay Devgan and Amitabh Bachchan) have been shown repeatedly on TV, explains, “When films like ‘Ardh Satya’ were made, this kind of cinema had to fight for time then too.”

Yes, the small screen continues to ignore the works of the finest craftsmen of parallel cinema. Never far from being models of anonymity, serious filmmakers have failed to make the cut with TRP-driven satellite channels. Ironically, the stakes have seldom been higher for major players in the Hindi film world and the losses steeper for lovers of serious cinema.

At a time when major box office hits like “Rang De Basanti”, “Lage Raho Munna Bhai”, “Krrish”, “Dhoom-2”, “Phir Hera Pheri”, “Umrao Jaan” and “Don” have been lapped up for television screenings at whopping sums going up to Rs.15 crore, no channel is ready to push the envelope for serious cinema. Result? Parallel cinema is dying a second death.

Having lost out in the box office popularity stakes, worthies like Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen, Goutam Ghose, Kalpana Lajmi and others are being given the cold shoulder by satellite channels too. Almost all the movie channels including Set Max, Zee Cinema, B4U and Filmy show four films a day, but on a “safe average only about six parallel cinema films” a month.

At times less, coming down to as little as two out of 120 films a month. Interestingly, unreleased entertainers like “Partner” and “No Smoking” with popular stars have already been bought by various channels!

As Filmy’s Ashutosh says, “We don’t have the luxury of waiting to know the film’s box office fate.” The channels are ready to shell out up to Rs.30 crore for a Yash Raj bouquet, but will not stake even a fraction of that for parallel cinema. Even box office duds like “Raja ki Aayegi Barat” (one of Rani Mukherji’s early films) or “Janani” (a Bhagyashri-starrer that was taken off some theatres on the third day of its release) are preferred to classics like “Ankur”, “Bhumika”, “Mrigaya”, “Manthan”, “Saaransh”, “Katha”, “Ek Pal” or “Nishant”.

No wonder Kalpana Lajmi, who has directed films like “Ek Pal” and “Darmiyaan”, rues, “The channels only want films of the last five years. I am known to the new generation by some of my weaker films. Even I cannot see my favourite films like ‘Ek Pal’ on television anymore. The classics are lost.”

Only economics

Mahesh Bhatt, who started his career with films like “Arth” and “Saaransh” before being associated with the likes of “Murder” and “Zeher”, says “Contrary to the assumption that people want good cinema, they don’t. Even if they get it for free, they don’t watch it. Even Doordarshan, where profit is not the main motive, does not want art house cinema. It is a battle for the eyeballs, a battle for bums on the seat. It is pure and simple economics, no art.”

He reveals that the contract of his National Award winning “Zakhm” was not revived with Zee because it had exhausted its possibilities. “Zee found it too gloomy. The film in the first run on TV had exhausted its potential audience. Channels are petrified of losing their audience. When TV runs short of icons, it manufactures them.”

Not excluding himself, Bhatt says “You have to put up with potboilers on television today because even the filmmaker who made ‘Saaransh’ yesterday makes ‘Murder’ and ‘Jism’ today.” Incidentally, “Jism” got Star very good ratings!

What is worse, the channels plan special festivals of the films of Amitabh Bachchan —Zee cinema had Bachchan’s ‘Navarasa’ in April-May this year and around the same time Set Max had ‘Ab Tak Bachchan’ — Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Govinda and Akshay Kumar… But never is a festival of Shyam Benegal films or Goutam Ghose films planned or shown. And, in a rare case, as in Set Max showing films of Guru Dutt and Benegal, the films are dumped in the early morning slot, sometimes starting as early as 8.00 a.m. on weekdays. And they are completely off the radar on weekend mornings “as that is a time for family viewing”.


Dhoom 2”.

Nihalani states the obvious, “TV is a very commercial medium. The best time goes to blockbusters. The ‘other’ kind of films are shown according to the channel’s convenience. Often more like a filler.”

Ashutosh admits, “There are not too many art movies on the channel. They don’t work well if you take ratings into account. Ninety per cent of people don’t want them. One has to make the channel work. We are not for classics that don’t sell. It is a battle for the eyeballs. Even popular films like ‘Pakeezah’, ‘Guide’ don’t work.”

Older and cheaper

Set Max’s Sneha Rajani takes the same line. “When one criticises the channels for not showing serious films one must remember their number is smaller too. We have Ghose’s ‘Yatra’ and some of Benegal’s movies like ‘Sardari Begum’ and ‘Kalyug’. We do not have a strict schedule for them but Sunday morning is ruled out for any library movie.”

A library (old film of about 25-30 years) movie is purchased by a channel at less than one/tenth the cost of a blockbuster. The older it gets, the cheaper a movie becomes for channels. Still the best works of Guru Dutt and Bimal Roy hardly make it to the schedules of movie channels. For evidence, just surf the timetables of Set Max, Zee Cinema, B4U, Filmy and others. No movie has made it for screening in May. Even Star Gold that started with the idea of showing yesteryear super hits now plays regular, usually relatively new, movies.

Rajani counters, “When they talk of serious cinema, why only the past? We have shown Aparna Sen’s ‘15 Park Avenue’. I wish the audiences had supported us then.”

Zee Cinema’s Mohan Gopinath, head, marketing and programming, explains, “Case to case, we give recommendations according to the star cast, content, mass appeal, before a movie is selected. For instance we have had hits like ‘Diler’ and ‘Durga’. These films had flopped when they released in cinema halls. Sometime back we did show ‘Ijaazat’. But we normally have late night slot for such films as we have to cater to the larger audience at other times.” As Bhatt puts it, “Everybody talks of good cinema, nobody watches good cinema.”

Meanwhile, the rarely seen Lok Sabha TV is the only exception. Every Saturday evening, the channel is busy showing films like “Ek Doctor ki Maut” and “Pestonjee” at prime time. The films, according to the Executive Producer Vartika Nanda, “get good response from the viewers with a lot of enquiries about the films”.

Each film is introduced by an expert from the field and is ushered with promos played a couple of days before the film’s screening. “We are a low-profile channel. We don’t indulge in mirch masala. We are not in the
rat race. We shows films with sub-titling and intend to continue the series over 54 weeks,” adds Nanda.

But is that enough to take on the juggernaut where each offering of Yash Raj Films or Vishesh Films comes with truckloads of advance publicity and a screening schedule more than a month in advance. No guesses needed!


Hindu On Net

Ready For Another Blast

13 Dec


Ready for another blast

Sanjay Gadhvi is set to rock audiences with Dhoom 2, the sequel to the iconic biker film, writes MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER


ZIP ZAP ZOOM Sanjay Gadhvi (far right) shows the way in the sequel to the smashing bikes-and-babes original

Sanjay Gadhvi went around telling everyone he was making India’s first sequel with Dhoom 2. “Only everyone from good friend Raju Hirani (Lage Raho) to Rakesh Roshan (Krrish) got there first!” Gadhvi says with a laugh in an exclusive interview with MetroPlus over the phone. Dhoom 2, which opens on November 24, has the same crew and part of the cast. While Jai, Sweety and Ali (Abhishek Bachchan, Rimi Sen and Uday Chopra) return, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu are the new entrants.

“When I made Dhoom, I never intended to make a sequel. The end, with John Abraham’s character, Kabir, going off the cliff and Jai and Ali walking away, is in the classic tradition. The fact that Kabir’s death is not shown led many people to feel that it was an opening for a sequel. There were so many hits on the site — over a lakh — which prompted the producers Yash Raj Films to look at a sequel and bingo here it is!

Contra casting

Gadhvi has indulged in big-time contra casting, with Mr. Nice Guy Hrithik, and little Ms. Plastic Ash walking the wild side. “At present there cannot be a better guy than Hrithik to play the bad guy. We needed someone to do a follow up on John and Hrithik has done a brilliant job. We needed an equally stunning love interest for Hrithik. Which is where Ash comes in. They are the two best-looking people in tinsel town today and what could be better than watching the two share some crackling chemistry? And the good thing about working under the Yash Raj banner is you just have to say it and the actor is available!”

Ask Gadhvi why John is not reprising his role and the director takes off. “Does James Bond fight the same villain in every movie? Did Sherlock Holmes solve the same case twice? Did Mel Gibson and Danny Glover fight the same villains in the Lethal Weapon series? Did Phantom and Mandrake fight the same bad guys in every comic? We cannot afford to get repetitive. And my apologies to all John’s fans out there that there would not be chance to see him bare-chested once more! That is a long answer to your short question!”

The edgy look of the film, shot on the sun-kissed beaches of Rio, is thanks to the brief of keeping it “young vibrant, hot and cool. We all looked like rock stars on the set! I wanted the film to be sexier than Dhoom.”

Gadhvi says: “Being a biker helped on Dhoom. I know bikes and have driven fast with girls sitting behind me. I know the gears are on the foot and know the exhaust from the engine. So it was fun making the film.”

And are there bigger and better bikes in the sequel? “You will have to buy a ticket and see the film to find out! I am not going to say if there are bikes in the film or if Ash wears a bikini!”

Dhoom made a huge impression for the slick technique and while Gadhvi underlines the importance of content, he says: “Content has to be backed by technique to make it work. Anyone who says the event is of prime importance is wrong. If you just put a camera and let it roll to record the events, you might as well make a play. A film is an audiovisual medium and the director decides what the audience should see.”

Gadhvi’s most memorable moment on the shoot was when he jumped off the highest freefall point in the world. “It was 125 meters high and I did the jump twice! I however could not watch the cast do the jump. It was too scary.”

Gadhvi, whose directorial debut Tere Liye (2000) and Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai (2002) did not do too well, says he came to action-comedy movie genre “by default. I left home saying I wanted to make films like Amar Akbar Anthony or Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. But what Dhoom’s success has done is given me the confidence to try out other genres — maybe a thriller or a horror movie. I am 39 and plan to retire at 50. In the meantime I would like to make a seven or eight films, which I will choose carefully. Right now I think I want to take it easy for a bit and go on a Christmas vacation.”


Hindu On Net

Look Up! He's Back…

30 Jun


Look up! He’s back…

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

It’s almost 20 years since the last Superman stormed the silver screen. What prompted Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns?


IN A NEW ORBIT What’s in store for Superman? Will he fly high?

It is a bird! It is a plane! It is Spiderman! No, no, the X-Men! Hellboy? Constantine? The Hulk? Wait I’ve got it, it is Batman! Or maybe Krrish or maybe it is a plane after all. The sky is crowded with grown men and women flying about in tights and capes all ready to save the world after they have resolved big time issues about their split personalities and their need to wear masks and sundry things that would keep psychiatrists and cultural commentators busy from now to eternity.

In this time of the conflicted superhero, with their dark worlds and darker motivations is there place for the Man of Steel, Superman? The honest to goodness nice guy with sculpted body was a hero to an innocent America. The bad guys were straightforward in their wickedness. When the Superman comics came out, they were pure escapist fare from the horrors of Depression and the War.

The 1978 movie by Richard Donner, starring Christopher Reeve echoed the goodness, the bright colours and the hope that everything will be right. The film was a humungous hit and spawned three sequels. Parts II (1980) and III (1983) were directed by Richard Lester, while part IV (1987) was directed by Sidney J. Furie with Christopher Reeve credited for the story.

In the twenty years that followed, the world has changed. America’s image has taken a beating. Celluloid is overrun by angst-ridden superheroes and there does not seem to be space for Superman in the new age.

So what prompted Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns? Does the world need him? Long time love Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) does not think so and goes on to write a column about how the world does not need Superman and wins a Pulitzer for it as well. (Wish it were that easy!) The world is managing fine without him till old friend Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey leaps into Gene Hackman’s role with teeth gnashing, scenery chewing gusto) is out on parole and back to doing what he likes best – world domination.

So Superman, played again by till-now unknown Brandon Routh flies in and does his thing i.e. save the world. The saga of Superman’s return to the big screen after these many years is worthy of a story in itself. Brett Ratner was supposed to direct, as was McG who left the project because of creative differences. Tim Burton was also involved at a point of time and the film Superman Lives already had publicity material done. Ratner took over the reins for X-Men III, and Singer, who directed the first two X-Men movies finally sat firm on the director’s chair.

Singer, a huge fan of Superman, says his love for the character helped him direct the X-Men movies. Superman Returns is incredibly respectful to Donner’s work from using design elements to John Williams’ Oscar nominated score. Marlon Brando who famously wished his cameo of Superman’s father Jor-El be represented as a green glowing floating bagel, and refused to learn his lines – reading them instead of the baby superman’s diaper, makes an appearance in the film. Singer used stock footage that Donner had shot but could not use due to a lawsuit.

If the director was a case of musical chairs, the casting was even more so. Nicholas Cage, a huge comic book fan, wanted to play the lead. James Caviezel was also in the running but became too famous after playing Christ in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.

Hayden Christensen was rejected, as it would not be too appropriate for Darth Vader to play Superman. Others considered included Josh Hartnett, Paul Walker, Brendan Fraser and Ashton Kutcher. One of the reasons for Ratner leaving the project was because he could not come to an agreement with the studio executives on whom to cast as Superman. Johnny Depp was considered for Lex Luthor, Anthony Hopkins for Jor-El and Claire Daines and Keira Knightley for Lois.

The effects by default are top-notch as Singer says: “The progress made in the visual effects arena is just astounding. As opposed to a superhero like Spider-Man, Superman’s hair and face are exposed therefore his performance and personality are exposed even in flight.” Shooting the entire film digitally using the Genesis camera system upped the ante that much more. And then if you thought it was all CGI, Superman’s costume is shiny not because of some software, but because it is made up shiny little Superman symbols. Is that rocking or what?

So there you have it, whether the world needs him or not, the studio executives feel the need for Superman. And our job as viewer is to look up at the sky to marvel and wonder if the final shot would be of Superman flying off into space like the other three films!


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Man, That's Super!

24 Jun


Man, that’s super!

Hrithik Roshan owes his Hollywood-style superpowers in Krrish to a studio right here in India, writes Bhumika K.


SUPERMAN SLAMDUNK Hrithik Roshan has whizzed down multistoreyed buildings and ridden the airwaves, thanks to new-age visual effects

Have you been ogling a particularly sinewy, wavy-haired dude digging his heels into grass and mud, bouncing off boulders effortlessly, flying over trucks, and flying Tai Chi-style over streets of Singapore, jumping from building to building? It’s Hrithik Roshan in his latest avatar in Krrish.

Only he’s very reminiscent of Spiderman, Superman, Neo in The Matrix, a bit of Crouching Tiger… and a few other heroes all rolled in one and blown up a 100 times over by the standards of visual special effects in Indian movies. And it’s all stamped “Made in India”.

Yes, if that brought you down with a thud after all that flying with Hrithik, you must listen to the guys who made him look as cool as a cucumber… and as cool as Hollywood. Almost. (We haven’t seen the movie still, have we?).

Chennai-based Prasad EFX, one of the largest digital post-production studios in India, has woven the digital magic and visual special effects into Krrish. The effects run into almost 90 minutes in this Rakesh Roshan sequel of Koi Mil Gaya, brandished about as being a trendsetter with “never before” visual special effects (VFX) on the Indian screen.

“There are about 1,200 digitally-manipulated shots in the film and they have been done to the standard of Hollywood,” says Mohan Krishnan, head of corporate communications of the Prasad Group. An average Indian film with special effects would have around 200 to 300 shots with special effects.

Hollywood’s VFX supervisors Craig Mumma and Marc Kolbe, who have worked on the effects of films like Independence Day and Godzilla, supervised the work at Prasad EFX. A team of 60 Indians slogged for well over six months to create the special visuals for the film. “It’s the first film we have completely executed for Hollywood supervisors. They are perfectionists, completely into details,” says Kilari Himakumar, senior line producer at Prasad EFX, who was the project manager for this film.

Director Rakesh Roshan had a very clear brief when he approached the company — he wanted nothing less than Hollywood. In fact Roshan first went to Los Angeles where he approached Mumma and Kolbe to do the effects. They in turn zeroed in on Prasad EFX to execute the work. Initially, Rakesh Roshan was apprehensive whether they would meet his Hollywood-standard demand. Craig and Mumma have earlier worked on a few projects together with the company on films like Koi Mil Gaya and a Hollywood production Sound of Thunder. In fact, Rakesh Roshan was so impressed finally with the work, he even told them: “People who have seen the film say that you cannot say this film is like Hollywood, it is Hollywood.”

In fact they had to do a 360 degree scan of Hrithik’s body in Los Angeles to create a basic digital model of the hero. Then other high-end 3D modelling, animation, compositing, modelling and other effects were added on. “We even developed his hair for certain scenes with a special software,” pitches in Himakumar. They have also visualised, designed and implemented an entire futuristic lab sequence, apart from 3D modelling of cars, bikes, helicopters, birds, and animals to match the live footage. They have also digitally enhanced some parts of the film where every little particle of earth Hrithik kicks up on a run is highlighted and every splinter of wood falling down when an axe hits it looks dramatically surreal.

As they explain the effects, they run a shot of Hrithik Roshan flipping around in an action sequence over another actor’s shoulder from a bike! “The bike was added later in the studios,” offers Himakumar, demonstrating the extent to which things can be altered with digital technology. “We even erased the legs off a table. Studios in Los Angeles would charge nearly Rs. 25 lakh to do this alone!”

Talking of costs, the entire post-production and digitisation, the Digital Intermediate service (where the movie is digitally corrected, cleaned up and enhanced in terms of look and feel), visual effects and prints for the film came at a whopping Rs. 15 crore (around 20 per cent of the purportedly Rs. 50 crore-budget film).

Ever since they have done Krrish, the studio is in talks with many Hollywood and European studios to execute VFX for mainstream international films, says Krishnan. “Thanks to the Indian IT industry, we no longer have to sell India. We only have to sell our own work and capabilities.” The extent of this outsourcing possibility is huge and could bring in work worth two million US dollars from a single project, he says.


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